For the last several years safety organizations and news reports have ensured the driving public was well-aware of the dangers presented by cell phone use while behind the wheel. There are numerous laws centered on phone calls and most states have created restrictions on text conversations. Unfortunately, the danger of several activities often goes unnoticed.
No matter the age of the driver or their experience level, certain distractions seem either too commonplace or insignificant to represent a danger. Unfortunately, several distractions can result in unexpected danger, including:
- The vehicle’s audio system: Whether the music is too loud to hear audible warnings such as sirens, horns or the screech of tires, or the driver attempts to manipulate the system while behind the wheel, the vehicle’s audio system often represents an unexpected distraction.
- The vehicle’s HUD: In the past, a heads-up display (HUD) seemed like something out of a science fiction movie. Now, many production vehicles roll off the assembly line with this technology installed. Projected into the field of view, the HUD means a driver will not have to look at the dashboard to see GPS directions, gauge indicators or weather warnings. Unfortunately, the diver still isn’t paying attention to the road while reading this data.
- Passengers in the vehicle: Whether it is a work carpool situation, driving children to school or ferrying pets to their veterinarian appointment, having others in the vehicle can be a distraction to drivers. From conversations to handing out treats, passengers can pull a driver’s eyes from the road and hands from the steering wheel.
- Dining and driving: With so many drive-thru restaurants and cupholders in the vehicle’s cabin, it is a given that motorists will eat and drink while driving. Whether it is fishing for a potato chip from a snack bag or draining the last few drops of coffee from a travel mug, dining and driving often becomes a common distraction on the road.
Distracted drivers can cause devastating collisions with catastrophic injuries. Vehicle occupants can suffer broken bones, lacerations, torn ligaments, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis and amputation. Depending on the types of vehicles, speed of the collision, angle of the collision or the occupant’s position within the vehicle, the crash often results in fatality. It is wise to identify and avoid distracted drivers no matter the type of road.